We Love to See It: These dope Black dads keep it going

Area dad Ronnell Hodges, left, is a family man to the core and helps his children reach their highest potential by setting an example by being the best father he can be. Local pastor and father Jonathan Merritt, center, is actively engaged in his family’s lives by being present and helping his children especially along their journey. Sloan Gibson Sr., right,  and his son pose for the camera. Gibson cherishes his role as a father despite his own challenges growing up. 

“Black Fatherhood is an incomparable gift to Black men that truly comprehend what it means to be called dad, daddy, father or pops. What a privilege it is to raise a child with patience, understanding, communication, support, encouragement, friendship, guidance and unconditional love. It is an absolute honor.”  

Black Female author and poet Stephanie Lahart accurately described the cultural importance of acknowledging and celebrating fathers on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, and throughout the year. Dads raising their children despite it all deserve some love this year on this annual holiday, which is a reflective time for many people to celebrate with feelings of appreciation for their own father.  

Around this time, I especially think about my dad, who lovingly raised me and my older sister in Detroit with my mother in the earlier part of my life. As a mother with two boys (who too will become fathers), I cherish my role in raising them up into Godly men.  

 

More broadly, I love to see this type of love being passed down to the next generation – and it warms my soul to see other Black men in Detroit and elsewhere in the community selflessly serving their children and their families when the world often stereotypes them as otherwise. These dynamic men are business professionals, essential employees, stay-at-home fathers, grassroots activists and leaders making a difference every single day. Thank you, dope dads, for being you.  

Here are examples of a few such fathers doing the thing, which the Michigan Chronicle is highlighting for Father’s Day 2022.  

Ronnell Hodges  

Real Times Media General Sales Manager 

Best Dad Advice: Don’t let other people’s shortcomings dictate your dreams. 

Proudest Dad Moment: My kids’ ages are 7, 8, and 13 so they are still young. However, a moment involving my oldest stands out: last year I coached my son’s football team, and we won the championship. It was his first year playing, and my first year coaching. After not having any experience, we worked hard for him to learn the fundamentals. Because of this hard work, he became a starting lineman. By the season’s end, it was clear that he had become one of the best on his team. When his team announced the team awards, he won the “Offensive Lineman of The Year”. As parents we always hope that our kids are listening to what we are teaching them. So, to see that he was listening, applying what he heard and contributing as a major factor on his team made me very proud. 

Pick Your Dad Type (Obama, Dre Johnson, “Blackish” character, Jay-Z): Obama. 

 

Jonathan Merritt   

Pastor, entrepreneur, husband and father  

Best Dad Advice: To always try to be present. Those moments with our kids are precious and they need us fathers to help lead the way  

Proudest Dad Moment: To welcome four incredible children into this world. Each and every time I see them, I get goosebumps just knowing that I was blessed with the best.  

Pick Your Dad Type (Obama, Dre Johnson, “Blackish” character, Jay-Z): Obama . 

  

Sloan Gibson Sr.   

Lead Organizer with Black Men Build  

Best Dad Advice: Best dad advice would have to be there’s no handbook to being a dad…I tend to use what I loved and didn’t love about my relationship with my own father and use that to shape how I raise my son. At the end of the day, I know I’m doing everything in my power to be the best dad.  

Proudest Dad Moment: Proudest dad moment was when I realized my son was growing up on me with his own personality. Sloan II will be 5 in July and is already his own person. So far, I feel like I’m doing something right.  

Pick Your Dad Type (Obama, Dre Johnson, “Blackish,” Jay-Z):  

I would think I’m more of a Dre Johnson-type dad…I let my son do dangerous things carefully; I listen to my son when he’s confused on reasons why he can’t say or do certain things; and I actually hear him out as I want to know what his thought processes are. I reason with him, and I’m fair but firm. I don’t want him scared and afraid to come to me with any problem or issue but at the same time I’m still his father and not one of his little friends lol. 

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